Worker advocacy groups call for tax increases
In a report out today, the Progressive Maryland Education Fund and other groups are promoting tax increases as a way to help balance a state budget marred by at least a $1.2 billion hole.
The report, which calls for increases in the gas tax, the alcohol tax and on millionaires, among others, comes as Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley says he is putting together a budget that contains painful cuts, including to education, and no new sources of revenue.
"We're concerned about trying to balance the budget on cuts alone," said Neil Bergsman, head of the Maryland Budget and Tax Policy Institute, another author of The State of Working Maryland 2010. "We need revenue measures."
The recommended tax changes begin on Page 23 of the report.
The ideas: Leave in place the million-dollar tax bracket, which is due to expire in 2011; raise the alcohol tax by a dime per drink and earmark those funds for health care; increase the gas tax by 15 cents per gallon; enact combined reporting for corporations, which would prevent them from sheltering profits in other states; and "modernize" the sales tax by taxing services in addition to goods.
In a conference call about the report this afternoon, Del. Thomas Hucker, a Montgomery County Democrat, said that despite the governor's pledge not to propose tax increases, "there is a lot of interest among my colleagues at looking at revenue enhancements."
"We can't just cut our way out," Hucker said. "We've been cutting for years."